Gun Carrying

1-2. Adolescents carry guns for protection–against other adolescents carrying guns

We surveyed 7th and 10th graders in inner city schools in Boston and Milwaukee.  We found that almost a quarter of 7th grade boys had already carried a gun, illegally. The overwhelming reason for carrying was self-protection. While guns were easily acquired, the large majority of respondents, and even the majority of those who had already carried a gun, wanted to live in a society where it was impossible for teens to get guns.

Hemenway, David; Prothrow-Stith, Deborah, Bergstein, Jack M; Ander, Roseanna; Kennedy, Bruce. Gun carrying among adolescents. Law and Contemporary Problems. 1996; 59:39-53.

Bergstein, Jack M; Hemenway, David; Kennedy, Bruce; Quaday, Sher; Ander, Roseanna. Guns in young hands: A survey of urban teenagers’ attitudes and behaviors related to handgun violence. Journal of Trauma. 1996; 41:794-798.


3. Adolescents overestimate peer gun carrying and thus are more likely to carry themselves.

We analyzed data from a random survey conducted in 2008 of over 1700 high school students in Boston.  Over 5% of students reported carrying a gun, 9% of boys and 2% of girls. Students substantially overestimated the percentage of their peers who carried guns and the likelihood that a respondent carried a gun was strongly associated with his perception of the level of peer gun carrying.

Hemenway, David; Vriniotis, Mary; Johnson, Rene M; Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah.  Gun carrying by high school students in Boston, MA: does overestimation of peer gun carrying matter?  Journal of Adolescence.  2011; 34:997-1003


4. Students who old in their class are more likely to carry guns illegally
Using data from the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior survey, we analyzed risk factors for adolescent gun carrying. We found that a simple objective measure–whether a student is old for their grade–is an important predictor of gun carrying. This fact may help clinicians identify high-risk students and target prevention strategies.

Hayes, D Neil; Hemenway, David. Age-within-school-class and adolescent gun carrying. Pediatrics electronic pages. 1999; 103:e64.


5. Social disorder increases the likelihood of adolescent gun carrying

We analyzed data from over 1800 youth in Chicago examining risk factors for adolescent gun carrying.  We found that aspects of the neighborhood (social disorder, safety, collective efficacy) were important predictors of illegal gun carrying by youth.

Molnar, Beth; Miller, Matthew; Azrael, Deborah; Buka Steven.  Neighborhood predictors of concealed firearm carrying among children and adolescents.  Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine.  2004; 158:657-64.


6. Selling crack is associated with carrying guns.

We analyzed data from interviews of over 200 young men and women at the Rhode Island Correctional Institution.  We found that selling crack was highly associated with gun carrying; using hard drugs was not.  Findings provide further evidence of a crack-gun connection.

Kacanek, Deborah; Hemenway, David. Gun carrying and drug selling among youth incarcerated men and women. Journal of Urban Health. 2006; 83:266-74.


7. Increased gun carrying reduces community feeling of safety.
This paper uses data from two national random-digit-dial surveys to examine public attitudes about gun carrying. By a margin of 5 to 1, Americans feel less safe rather than more safe as more people in their community begin to carry guns.  By margins of at least 9 to 1, Americans do not believe that regular citizens should be allowed to bring their guns into restaurants, college campuses, sports stadium, bars, hospitals or government buildings.

Hemenway, David; Azrael, Deborah; Miller, Matthew.  U.S. national attitudes concerning gun carrying.  Injury Prevention.  2001; 7:282-285.